Thursday, October 29th, 2009 at 10:30 am  |  44 responses

The New Anti-Tanking Proposal

I’m not sure this would necessarily help eliminate tanking — what’s to stop the crappy teams from laying down during this “tournament”? — but it’s an interesting idea: “The proposal by Nuggets vice president Mark Warkentien, which was recently mailed to fellow team executives as well as to NBA headquarters, calls for a mini single-elimination postseason tournament in which the Nos. 8-15 teams in each conference would play up to three games in pursuit of the eighth and final spot in the playoffs. Under the proposal, nothing would change for the playoff teams that earn the top seven playoff spots. The No. 8 spot, however, would be up for grabs. No. 8 would play a home game against No. 15, No. 9 would play at home against No. 14 and so on. The loser of each game would be eliminated, while each winner would advance to the next round. At the conclusion of the mini-tournament, the playoffs would revert to the traditional format, with the winner of the No. 8 seed opposing the team with the best record in the conference.”

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  • http://www.mynameinblue.com Hisham

    Exactly how does this eliminate tanking?

  • Pig

    It’s what simmons proposed in 2007

  • tavoris

    it wouldn’t eliminate tanking, but it would at least discourage it.

  • ave. joe

    This will never happen because, although it does eliminate tanking, it is extremely unfair to the team already owning the 8th spot in the playoffs.

  • http://www.curtin.edu.au Declan

    Wouldn’t that just burn the 8th seed team out even more? Isn’t it hard enough playing the 1st seed team as is?

  • tavoris

    @ave.joe…it would mean that the 8th seed isn’t guaranteed a spot in the playoffs-like they are currently. Their “reward” for mediocrity would be having to earn their way into the playoffs (and that additional TV & playoff money that the teams teams in the postseason receive). Hypothetically, it could give even the worst teams a shot at the playoffs…best case-they get a lil bit of money (and TV exposure they probably never receive), worst case, they are still in the lottery.

  • KaponoE

    I propose that the 8th team has to have AT LEAST a .500 + 1 record to eligible for the playoffs. If the 8th team in one conference doesn’t have a one game over .500 record, and the 9th team in the other conference does, than the 9th team gets to play in on the other side of the bracket. NO SUB.500 TEAMS SHOULD MAKE THE PLAYOFFS!!!

  • peter

    It basically means there is no incentive to go for the 8th spot…even if you have a horrible year you always have a chance at making the playoffs…not down with the idea

  • Czar Ruke

    So you can tank AND make the playoffs? Great for the knicks and bobcats.

  • Young C

    This proposal does nothing to address the whole reason why teams are tanking in the first place, which is because of the way the draft lottery is seeded. If the lottery seeding is still based on the regular season record, how does this stop tanking? I think all this would do is provide a few more NCAA tournament type games to line the pockets of the owners. I dont see how it addresses tanking or more importantly parity in The League.

  • Young C

    As a matter of fact, it probably encourages tanking even more. If my team sucked enough during the regular season to get the 15th seed/worst record in the conference, why would I want to play myself out of the lottery during a 3 game single elimination tournament and lose my chance at the number 1 pick? Just so that I can play the number one seed and get swept out of the first round? This is one dumb idea.

  • tavoris

    Young C….how do YOU propose the NBA discourages tanking?

  • Young C

    Maybe its not such a bad idea if the seeding stays the same(is still based on the regualar season) no matter how the tournament goes. But tanking isnt a problem compared to the lack of parity. And Im not sure that they’re related. The draft lottery seems to be working well enough to prevent tanking. When was the last time the worst seed actually got the #1 pick? Cleveland? It rarely happens. Im more concerned with parity but who knows how to deal with that manner that is fair to both the owners and the players? All they could really do is copy the NFL but I doubt the players would give up their gauranteed contracts.

  • Pro

    Good idea. Doubt it happens tho

  • mumadone

    What about a tournament consisting of all the lottery teams, whoever takes the tournament gets the #1 pick.

  • jdn41

    mumadone- that would create even more problems for parity in the nba, this does eliminate tanking because its just like a mini playoffs teams dont wanna be last because they dont want to face the 8th seed team so they might want postion and be like 12th so they can face the 13th team

  • http://allanzuss@yahoo.com Mendel

    Bull sheet

  • http://www.manutd.com Z

    Bad idea. A 20-win team shouldn’t make the playoffs no matter what the format is. You really want to see Sacramento get dismantled by LA or San An and give us a sh!tty first round just because they won 3 games in a row against other sh!tty teams?

  • tavoris

    I can only imagine how non-competitive a game between two teams that want to lose would be. Coem to think of it, it actually makes sense to make them earn that lottery spot over other teams who are trying to lose accordingly.

  • LA Huey

    Maybe I don’t understand this but it seems to encourage teams that wouldn’t otherwise “tank” into doing it. Let’s say I’m the Clippers/Golden State/Thunder or some other West team with ideas of getting that 8th spot. Couldn’t I just mail in the season so I can get myself a top 3 pick and a chance at postseason cash?

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    this is stupid. That is all.

  • tavoris

    LA Huey, I would imagine it would be a one-or the other-type deal

  • onlyclipfanonslam

    Huey is a bright man

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    If they want to address tanking they need to do something that hurts the teams that lose on purpose. This doesn’t hurt them, it gives them a chance to tank, and then possibly make the playoffs if they win three games.

  • Ganchan

    A better way to eliminate tanking would be to have all the non playoff teams play their own playoffs and the winner gets the top pick in the next years draft and second place gets second pick and so on

  • Rog123

    So, in theory, a team can go 0-82 and still win an nba championship

  • http://www.twofistedpress.com Pve84

    All of these anti-tanking propositions are founded on a team actually wanting to get to the playoffs. Why would a losing team with almost no chance of beating a #1-seeded opponent choose to play (and probably be swept by) said #1-seed opponent rather than purposely lose during the regular season AND this mini-tournament in order to (hopefully) secure a high draft pick and revamp their franchise?

    The idea of losing teams playing tournament ball to determine draft pick order is appealing although it would further destroy parity…but the system of bouncing balls determining draft order isn’t exactly a champion of parity either.

  • tavoris

    Allenp, you are exactly right. Of course, the NBA will NEVER admit that certain teams tank their seasons, right? That’d almost be like them admitting that “more than a few” referees bet on games in the last couple decades.

  • Patrick

    Or, we could base the NBA draft only on the results the first 2/3rds of the year. Only the crappiest teams tank all year long.

  • cool j

    I think to avoid tanking and insure that teams play hard until the end of the season ,HAVE TEAMS WITH 9TH BEST RECORD GET THE BEST CHANCE TO WIN THE LOTTERY! that will discourage mediocrity ,just reverse the odds we currently have!

  • reidar

    Maybe they should stop giving different odds for the lottery teams? In other words, let the 9th seed and 14th seed have the same odds in the lottery?

  • doyouwantmore

    Why don’t all the bottom-half teams have the same chance at landing a first round pick? That would guarantee a losing team gets the #1 draft and make tanking pointless. Sure, some teams would suck for years and years on end, but how is that different from what happens now? This is a principle everyone should learn. You can’t regulate fairness, but you can make sure no one gets special treatment and let people take whatever place that they have earned.

  • doyouwantmore

    And I like Cool J’s idea.

  • thedude

    I say for the next couple years they just get rid of whatever team has the worst record, and all their players become free agents. That just goes on until the league is more even. This will never, ever happen, but i think its a good idea.

  • Mack

    I like the idea, but it probably would have a lot of problems in reality, none that I can think of at the moment

  • http://fdjsklf.com Jukai

    Allenp Posted: Oct.29 at 2:13 pm
    If they want to address tanking they need to do something that hurts the teams that lose on purpose. This doesn’t hurt them, it gives them a chance to tank, and then possibly make the playoffs if they win three games.

  • LCD screen cleaner

    Read the entire article to get the rationale behind the proposal, idiotic SLAM readers.

  • http://slamonline.com Dave

    Undoubtedly the stupidest NBA proposal I’ve ever heard.

  • http://slamonline.com Dave

    Actually, most of this page is incredibly stupid. How many of you guys know what lowest-first draft order and the lottery is for?

  • SportingLisbon


  • NUPE

    I see how this can increase interest in the number 8, 9, ann 10 teams at the end of the season, but I don’t see how this proposal stops/prevents tanking from the 11-15 spots. It’s clear that the solution is to prevent and/or punish teams from tanking, but how do you prove that’s what they are doing? Some teams are just bad and some teams just have bad-luck with injuries etc. that put them in the lottery. Even the elite teams, once they know they have a secure playoff spot will rest their best players in the final few games of the season to reduce risk of injury before the playoffs. In my opinion this tanking of games is understandable and not as bad as tanking a season – but it’s still tanking when you don’t put your best team and effort on the floor every night.

    The only ‘solution’ I can come up with is to fine the worst teams in the league. Teams 11-15 either pay $10 mil (just made up an amount) for being so bad. Or maybe they give up a percentage of revenue. The point is to punish the very worst teams (but not take away their lottery chances of getting better) and help prevent owners from wanting to tank on purpose. I would also have a prevision to allow a team to appeal the ‘crappy team fine’ if they can prove they sucked for ‘unforseen’ reasons such as multiple injuries or something. The L would have to approve or not the appeal, but there could be some legit reasons for it.

  • J.B

    so you could tank, and still be able to compete for a playoff spot. nice

  • maio

    Too many teams in the league.

  • http://www.triplejunearthed.com/dacre Dacre

    This idea touches on a few points that have been realised, broken down into one notion…. make the league a 16 to 24 team league, on a revolving door basis: just like in the european football codes, teams that come in last get displaced further back into lower leagues. The NBADL would be ideal to have cellar-dwellers for a period as they mount up stronger teams and can move forward into the NBA through future seasonal play.